Tyler Baze, a 22-year-old Seattle native, rode the 1,000th winner of his career Friday, guiding Mashiko to a five-length victory in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.
It was the second victory of the day for Baze, the meet's leading rider with 46 wins, and his third victory in two days after ending 49-race winless streak on Thursday.
"I'm glad to finally get it over with," Baze said. "I've been riding five years and five months. It's been a lot of work. I want to thank God, and the owners and trainers who have supported me."
Since riding his first winner on Oct. 31, 1999, at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, Baze has consistently ranked among the leaders of the tough Southern California jockey circuit. He won his first major riding title at the 2004 Hollywood Park Spring/Summer meeting, becoming the youngest jockey to accomplish the feat since Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1968. Baze was voted the Eclipse Award for top apprentice jockey of 2000.
"He's just a great kid," said Doug O'Neill, the meet's leading trainer with 37 wins. "Whether it's a $10,000 claimer or a graded stakes race he listens and tries hard every time and that's all you can ask for."
Baze's 1,000th winner came aboard a Washington-bred, Mashiko, who led virtually gate-to-wire while running six furlongs in 1:09.74. It was the third victory from 22 starts for the 5-year-old gelding, who had lost seven straight races before winning Friday's event for $32,000 claimers. Gary Stute is the trainer for owners Don Beardsworth, Dennis Decauwer and Peter Lurie.
Baze credited his agent, Ivan Puhich, with much of the success.
"He's unbelievable," Baze said of the Renton, Wash. native. "He works hard and he's 79 years old. He's always been very supportive and tries to keep my head up. All I can do is shoot for 2,000 now."
Mashiko paid $10 to win and helped create a Pick Six carryover of $108,239 into Saturday. (Chart, Equibase)